5 Tips for Building a Digital Marketing Funnel That Converts

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Taking an approach to marketing funnel design that focuses on your audience and where they invest their attention, and building funnel stages that work together to capture that attention will ensure you get the most out of your efforts to build a funnel that converts. Follow these tips to build and refine your own digital marketing funnel.

1. Connect Marketing Funnel Stages Through Content Cross Promotion

Cross promoting is a tactic that sits at the foundation of content marketing strategies. It involves distributing a piece of content across other marketing channels to maximize exposure for the content, and ROI for the time and resources invested in creating it. 

Blog Post Cross Promotion Example

Blog posts can be used to cross promote other marketing content, and to drive leads to different funnel stages.
Blog posts can be used to cross promote other marketing content, and to drive leads to different funnel stages.

For example, if you create a blog post, you can cross promote it by sharing it on your social media channels, including it in email newsletters, linking it in your website’s landing pages and in other blog posts, and including it as a reference in white papers. 

Aside from maximizing ROI for the content, cross promotion also plays a critical role in linking together different stages of a digital marketing funnel. In the blog post example shared above, that blog post is serving as a mechanism to take people from the brand’s social media channels (top of funnel), and driving them to the brand’s website where they can engage with middle of funnel content like landing pages and email contact forms. 

Website Landing Page Example

Website landing pages offer ample opportunities for cross promoting other marketing content.
Website landing pages offer ample opportunities for cross promoting other marketing content.

Website landing pages can be cross promoted in a similar way. Creating a social media campaign around a website landing page where you share links to it across your social channels accompanied by images, videos, and fresh copy will drive potential leads to that web page. When a social media lead then fills out the contact form on the website landing page, they can be enrolled in an email drip campaign that delivers them a series of emails containing links to educational blog posts, videos, and whitepapers all designed to move them further down the funnel. 

In this example, the landing page is serving as a path connecting the brand’s top of funnel stages like social media content marketing, and mid funnel techniques like email marketing. Due to their ability to be cross promoted across top of funnel channels, and to include lead capture tools like contact forms, landing pages are one of the most versatile types of mid funnel marketing content.

The more links you create between your marketing funnel stages through cross promotion, the more seamlessly leads can move from one piece of content to the next, and one funnel stage to the next.

Check out this blog post on marketing funnel stages for more info.

2. Develop a Lead Retargeting Strategy 

Retargeting is a technique where brands specifically target a lead that has shown interest in a product or service, but has yet to make a purchase. 

This typically takes place at the mid or bottom stages of the marketing funnel where the lead has already advanced past general awareness of a brand, and has moved on to education and consideration of its products.

The premise behind retargeting is that because a lead is already familiar with your brand and has taken some action to indicate product interest (ex. Viewed a product landing page on your website, put an item in their shopping cart on your ecommerce store, etc.), that lead is worth targeting specifically because it has an increased chance of converting. This means it is worth an investment of time, budget, or both to deliver some marketing content to them to try and advance them further down the funnel to a conversion. 

Common Examples of Retargeting Triggers

The first component of a retargeting strategy is setting up triggers that indicate when a lead has entered into your retargeting campaign. These triggers start a sequence of events that lead to the target lead receiving some sort of marketing communication from your company designed to rejuvenate their interest in your products. 

  • Abandoned cart retargeting: Common in ecommerce marketing, the abandoned shopping cart retargeting technique is exactly what it sounds like; when someone visits your ecommerce website, places an item in their cart, but does not complete a purchase, that incomplete transaction serves as a trigger to enter them into a retargeting campaign designed to push them toward completing the purchase. Companies often use a product discount delivered via display ads, social media ads, or email to try and convince the potential customer to come back and finish checking out. Ecommerce platforms like Shopify have features and 3rd party apps that allow you to set up abandoned cart retargeting campaigns.
  • Product landing page view: Used in both ecommerce and B2B marketing, a website view on a product landing page is often used to trigger an automated marketing or ad campaign with messaging and value propositions specific to the viewed product.

Common Examples of Retargeting Marketing Techniques

Now that we’ve covered the triggers brands use to determine which leads enter into their retargeting campaigns, the next step in a retargeting strategy is to determine which marketing or advertising technique to use in order to reach back out to that lead and “retarget” them to push for a conversion. 

  • Automated email workflow: If a lead has given you their email address at some point in your marketing funnel (ex. Filled out a contact form, or setup an account on your ecommerce website), you can use email to deliver retargeting campaigns. Using the abandoned cart trigger example above, if a customer leaves your website with an intel in their shopping cart without checking out, you can create an automated email workflow that send them an email reminding them to come back and finish checking out, and even sweeten the deal with a discount on the product they were considering purchasing. 
  • Display ads: If you’ve ever visited a blog or a website and seen banner ads for a product you’ve looked at or searched for on the internet, then you’ve been a target for a retargeting campaign. Use this same technique in your marketing strategy by selecting a trigger (ex. viewing a particular product website page), and creating display ads that will be delivered to that user across different websites that feature display ads from the ad platform you use (ex. Google Adsense).

3. Leverage Email Marketing Throughout Your Funnel

Email marketing can be deployed at each stage within a marketing funnel.
Email marketing can be deployed at each stage within a marketing funnel.

Email marketing is a strategy that typically serves as the glue for a marketing funnel. This is because of the fact that it requires leads to provide a deeper level of contact information (their email address), and it gives brands the ability to strategically target leads at different funnel stages with content designed to move them to another stage. 

While most commonly deployed at the mid funnel stage after someone has indicated awareness and interest in a brand by signing up for something (and giving their email address), it can also be deployed at the top of funnel through a general brand awareness newsletter, and at the bottom of the funnel for lead retargeting, as explained above. 

Ways to Deploy Email Marketing at Each of the Marketing Funnel Stages

  • Top of Funnel: At the brand awareness stage, delivering a variety of information about your company and its products is the way to start educating potential leads. An email newsletter is a great way to do so by sharing company news and PR, product news, new content marketing assets like video and infographics, and links to website landing pages. Growing an email list and establishing a cadence of engaging newsletters will build up your top of funnel audience and continually drive them to mid funnel content. 
  • Mid Funnel: Email nurture campaigns can be deployed at the mid funnel stage to systematically educate qualified leads about your company and products. For example, if someone filled out the contact form on your website and indicated interest in a specific product, you can automatically enrol them in an email campaign with 3-4 sequential emails that provide information about that product. This will increase the likelihood that they continue moving down the funnel by reading blog posts, whitepapers, and landing pages related to the product, and considering a purchase. 
  • Bottom of Funnel: Email retargeting is an example of an email-driven bottom of funnel tactic. Setting up email campaigns that follow up with website visitors who put something in an ecommerce shopping cart, but never purchased, is a way to retarget them and incentivize them (ex. Deliver a discount coupon code) to complete their purchase. 

4. Invest in Lead Capture and Ecommerce Platforms to Build Your Bottom of Funnel

The point of sale or conversion is where your hard work on other marketing funnel stages pays off. This is where you capture customer information to engage in sales conversations, or convert customers to a purchase. In order to create bottom of funnel strategies that convert leads, it is critical to invest in tools that allow you to capture leads and convert them. 

Lead Capture 

For B2B businesses, email lead capture is a critical component of marketing and sales strategies. Capturing a lead’s email allows the marketing team to target them with various campaigns (ex. The email campaigns outlined above), and it gives the sales team the opportunity to reach out and engage the lead. 

Investing in an email marketing tool that has a contact form feature is the marketing infrastructure B2B companies should put in place at the bottom of their funnel to capture and engage leads. Platforms like MailChimp and Constant Contact allow organizations to embed contact forms on website landing pages and in blog posts, or to create gated whitepapers and videos that capture people’s email addresses. CRMs like HubSpot have the same features, and also enable companies to structure their marketing and sales stages to strategically move leads down the funnel. 

Ecommerce

For ecommerce brands, your ecommerce store represents the home base for your business, and the foundation of your bottom of funnel. This is where leads convert, and where top and mid funnel marketing tactics aim to drive leads toward. 

Investing in an ecommerce platform like Shopify will allow you to set up an online store to list your products and take payments from customers. These platforms also feature marketing tools and integrations so that they seamlessly plug into other components of your marketing funnel. Examples of this include email marketing, social media integration for publishing news about new products on social channels, and digital ad features for retargeting campaigns. 

5. Put in Place Analytics at Each Marketing Funnel Stage

Analytics will help to determine which strategies are helping the most to drive leads from one funnel stage to another. For example, top of funnel analytics like social media engagement and referral traffic, or blog post performance will reveal how much those channels are contributing to more exposure for your mid and bottom of funnel marketing materials. 

White paper downloads and email campaign engagement are examples of mid funnel marketing analytics that will indicate how much qualified leads are interacting with your educational content. 

Aside from conversions and purchases, which represent the most important bottom of funnel marketing analytics, data like product page views, contact form completions, and ecommerce shopping cart performance are all examples of metrics you can measure to observe lead activity toward the bottom of the funnel. 

By leveraging analytics at each marketing funnel stage, you can make assumptions about which of your funnel stages is strongest, as well as which stage is weakest and needs work. For example, if your top of funnel marketing strategies like blog posts and social media are performing well and driving a large volume of traffic to your website landing pages (mid funnel), but your website analytics show a high bounce rate and low conversions on those pages, that’s a good indication that you should invest more time to improve the quality of the marketing messaging and assets on those pages.

Analytics Tools for Marketing Funnel Insights

  • Google Analytics: Google Analytics can be used for measuring tactic performance at each of the marketing funnel stages. For top of funnel analytics, you can measure referral traffic to better understand which of your top of funnel channels is driving the most traffic to your website (ex. Social media, PR, blogging). For mid funnel marketing, you can use Google Analytics to measure traffic, time on page, and conversions for marketing tactics like white papers, long form blog posts, and landing pages. Google Analytics can also be se tup to track conversions like contact form completions and purchases made on websites to inform your bottom of funnel strategy.
  • Social Media Automation Platforms: Social media automation platforms like Buffer and Sprout Social feature analytics dashboards to help you understand what aspects of your social strategy are supporting lead generation, and to adapt your strategy accordingly. Measuring which social channels receive the most post engagement, which ones drive the most link clicks and website inbound leads, etc. will grow your top of funnel audience and increase the number of people who venture further down the funnel to your mid funnel marketing assets.
  • Email Analytics: Email analytics are great for both top and mid funnel reporting, but they offer the most value at the mid funnel stage. Measuring the success (or lack of engagement) with your email drip campaigns and newsletters will help you to determine which email strategies are leading to the most opens and link clicks, as well as which email content is being ignored at the critical mid funnel stage.
  • End-to-End Funnel Analytics: Comprehensive marketing platforms like HubSpot have end-to-end marketing analytics for all of the marketing funnel stages. The benefit of these platforms is that you can track leads through the entire funnel from one tool, vs. having to monitor analytics across different tools at each stage and having the data not line up. For example, end-to-end funnel analytics will allow you to know the traffic source from which a lead reaches your website (top of funnel), track all of their website engagement and email engagement (mid funnel), and their eventual conversion (bottom of funnel). 

Use Analytics to Identify Marketing Funnel Weak Points

The analytics discussed above will enable you to gain insights on which aspects of your marketing funnel are strengths and weaknesses. For example, if your website analytics tell you that your top of funnel marketing tactics are driving in a high volume of website traffic, you have a high volume of potential leads filling out your contact forms, but you have a comparatively low number of actual sales conversions, that indicates that your mid funnel and bottom of funnel strategies aren’t working. 

On the opposite end of the spectrum, if your ecommerce store is converting a high percentage of inbound traffic into sales, it would be wise to invest in top of funnel marketing in order to continue feeding your middle of top of funnel stages that are converting.

By implementing strategies that connect your marketing funnel stages and help each of them work together, you can create a funnel that educates leads and converts. Follow these tips to build your own digital marketing funnel and to optimize each stage.

Want more information on building a marketing funnel? Check out Brand Credential's marketing funnel guide.

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